Artist: Dalia Bañuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera

Exhibition: Infraction

Media: Photography

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: Daniel: dbvphotography.com

Dalia: None at this time

Instagram: Dalia: deliaeffect

Daniel: dbvqp

About the Artists

Dalia Bañuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera are both undergraduate students at CSULB, both in the School of Arts Studio Art program. Outside of photography, Dalia practices martial arts, and Daniel works full time and enjoys reading.

Formal Analysis

Infraction is composed of Dalia and Daniel’s photographs, which were rejected works from their application to the Photography Program. Upon entering the gallery, Dalia’s photos are all along the left wall and Daniel’s are on the right wall. There is a single strand of black thread that goes all throughout the gallery, leading to and/or covering every single photograph. (The thread’s origin and ending are unknown).

At the far end of the gallery are two mannequins. The first mannequin is curled up into the fetal position in the far left corner; it wears a burgundy hooded sweatshirt, khaki pants, and black shoes. The second mannequin is in the center on its knees, curled forward with its head down and hands covering its face; it wears a black and white stripped hooded sweatshirt, black pants, and black shoes. The mannequins are surrounded by a combination of Daniel and Dalia’s photographs, most of which are suspended by the black thread. The black thread also connects to each of the mannequins (it is possible that the thread begins at one of them).

The photos’ content, subjects, size, and styles vary throughout the gallery, especially when Dalia and Daniel’s blend in the middle (surrounding the mannequins). Some photos are of people (e.g. Daniel himself), objects like rocks, landscapes and sunrises, and plants, to name a few. Some of the photos are in black and white and others are in color.

Content Analysis

As explained in the Artist Statement posted in the gallery, Dalia and Daniel were both rejected from the Photography Program. Instead of flying into a rage, they decided to reinterpret the use of the gallery.”To us, the gallery space stands as a place to glorify the achievements from the select individuals who were graciously chosen to adorn the space with their trophies….What if this gallery was seen as a receptacle of broken drams and devoid of hope?”

The two decided to fill the gallery with their rejected work in order to twist the gallery’s purpose around. It is now full of work deemed unworthy of being there.

The black thread that surrounds and covers the photographs further presents the two’s feelings of sadness, heartbreak, and fragility.

Synthesis

I truly like what Daniel and Dalia did with Infraction. There is something that I can only describe as poetic justice/irony in filling a gallery with the work that was deemed unworthy of being there in the first place. Personally, I think their photography is rather good. I am no expert in photography nor can I professionally judge one’s photography as worthy of something, but I like their work; they are both artistic and know how to take good pictures. I also feel that this exhibition alone should be enough to get them into the Photography Program post hoc; the bravery it must have taken to do this is astounding to me, and I would personally let anyone into anything (program or not) out of admiration. This twist on the gallery’s purpose is something I would do in order to get back at someone or something, although I would be doing it for a more humorous and lighthearted reason.

I can really feel the rage that the two felt. The black thread literally fractures the photos, just like their dreams were. The mannequins curled up in heartbreak make me sympathize with them, reminding me of the times my dreams were shattered and my heart sank to an unfathomable depth.

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